The Game Jars Files: A trip down gaming memory lane

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Originally published on The Game Jar November 28th 2013

With the next generation of consoles just round the corner, I’ve decided I need to begin the journey mentally refreshed. Time to dig out the install disc, wipe the cranial hard drive, and make room for lots of lovely new adventures. With that  in mind, I thought I’d commit a few of my most favourite gaming memories to text, so that they’re not lost forever to the mists of time. These memories aren’t about the games – they were just the catalysts – it’s about the moments spent gaming I’ll never forget. The nights sat in a lobby full of friends, giving each other shit about each other’s gaming prowess. The hilarious friendly fire incidents that immediately followed heroic speeches and great bravado. In short, the little things that make gaming worth doing.

Playing Gears of War for the first time.

In 2006, I was stuck in between console generations. Microsoft’s early euthanasia of the original Xbox, and subsequent announcement of the Xbox 360 had caught me out, and I ended up sticking with my trusty PlayStation 2. Then, at my mother’s house on boxing day that year, my brother asked me if I wanted to have a go on his Xbox 360. He fired it up, placed Call of Duty 3 in the disc tray, and showed me what a next-gen console could do. I wasn’t particularly impressed if I’m honest, but he was determined to get me hooked, so he switched to Gears of War. I was utterly blown away. The graphics were stunning, it had this whole cover to cover mechanic going on, and the gun had a chainsaw built-in to it. A FRICKIN CHAINSAW! I left my mum’s house knowing I had to have this game, and so on the way home, on boxing day evening, I stopped in Gamestation and bought an Xbox 360 and Gears of War. I joined the next generation right then and there, and all because of Gears of War. No surprise then, that it’s one of my stand out memories of this current generation.

Race Pro with friends

I’ve often thought the real selling point of Xbox Live isn’t the games at all, it’s the friends you play with, and the connections you make. Without them, Xbox Live is nothing. Never was this clearer to me than during the time I spent playing Race Pro with the guys over at Xbox Society. The Race Pro WTCC competition they ran was easily the best online racing I’ve ever taken part in, and served as proof, if any were needed, that with the right group of friends, any game can feel truly special. Race Pro, in my opinion, is the best handling sim racer on the current generation of consoles, and when it’s mixed with a group evenly matched players, you have the recipe for a fantastic nights racing. The competition was fierce, but clean. The whole race was spent either defending your position, or trying to take someone else’s. It was quite literally, bumper to bumper racing. I learned with that one competition just how important the social aspect of Xbox Live really is. Friends, not code, are what make an online games really memorable, and that’s why recall Race Pro so fondly.

The sweet, sweet Halo 3 beta

As I said earlier, I was caught out by Microsoft when it came to Xbox, so I never did that whole Halo thing. Friends were telling me about it, but somehow I was never sold. Halo 3 then, was my first proper taste of Halo, and the beginning of that was the beta test. I don’t know why Bungie chose the three maps they did, but it was a perfect choice as far as I’m concerned, because I fell in love with the game instantly. Snowbound was a perfect small map, with high points for sniping, and interiors for close combat. High Ground was an absolutely brilliant asymmetric map, perfect for attack and defend game types such as capture the flag. Finally, the awesome Valhalla was an updated take on the classic Halo CE map Blood Gulch, and was an instant classic. These three maps where a revelation to me, where had this game been all my life? As soon as I’d played it, I understood why my friends were always talking about Halo. After the beta, I went on to play every Halo game released, and with each game, I fell deeper in love, but it all began with the beta, and for that I’ll always remember it.

Clan life and Rainbow Six

When Microsoft announced that Rainbow Six Vegas would be one of the free Games with Gold titles, I thought they were insane. It’s ugly as sin, as buggy as hell, and I couldn’t think of a single game less suited to showing off what the console was capable of. But then I thought of my time spent play it whilst being a member of the now defunct gaming clan, LoX Gamers. Like Race Pro, here was a game capable of transcending its technical limitations with the addition the of a good group of friends. Those early days spent playing Attack and Defend and Team Sharpshooter were my first real taste of what gaming could be like when playing with the same group of people, and it really crystallised what online gaming was supposed to be about – friends getting together online, and having fun. LoX gamers is long gone now, but most of the friends I made then, are still on my friends list now. Rainbow Six Vegas was one of those early games that cemented us together, and without it my friends list would be emptier.

A little while ago, I wrote a piece asking whether you’d stop being a gamer. One of the points I made was that I felt like I’d seen all the games industry had to offer, but perhaps this is the counter-argument. This current generation of consoles has added so many good moments to my memory banks, it’s impossible to look back over it without raising a smile. I’ve enjoyed many games over the course of this generation, but only a few of them have left an indelible mark upon my brain. Every single time my friends and I recall past escapades, these same few moments come back to us. That’s the real power of gaming, the ability to forge common memories between friends, and I look forward to the next generation forging more.

Three is the magic number (sometimes).

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Originally published on The Game Jar October 12th 2012

Number three. In Half Life terms, three is a never-ending wait for a game that can never live up to the hype. In Fable terms, it’s a terrible second half of the game, which then drags the good bits down with it. But does it always have to a bad thing? Making a third game in the trilogy means two games worth of practice previously, right? Some developers do get it right though, so here’s my take on three games that perfected the formula the third time around.

Halo 3 Not only is Halo 3 the best Halo game ever made in my opinion, it’s one of the best games ever made. It’s nigh on perfect. It’s why I hold out no hope for Halo 4. It’s why my love for Reach was always a little white lie. With Halo 3, Bungie had perfected their craft. Whenever I look back at any of the Halo games, it always seems to me that Halo 3 was the last Halo that Bungie enjoyed making. Although Reach was a good game, it never felt like it had the developers heart and soul poured into it, Halo 3 was the conclusion of a story they’d been telling for some time, and their desire to do it right shone through. Even though some criticised the graphics, I thought it looked beautiful. The jungles were lush and vibrant, the deserts were dry and arid. With two other game’s worth of weapon balancing to fall back on, Halo 3’s combat was as tight as a drum. The guns felt great, vehicle combat was awesome, and they even gave us a new toy; the Spartan Laser. I can’t begin to tell you how much I loved that gun, so I’ll stick to telling you that it’s in my top five of greatest ever video game weapons. As good as the campaign was however, Halo 3 had a bigger reputation to live up to; multi-player. The original Halo’s LAN multi-player is regarded as a seminal moment for the FPS by many gamers, and Halo 2 was just as loved as the first, and as a result the third game had huge on-line shoes to fill. To my mind, it succeeded. Still to this day, objective based games on the Vahalla and Sandtrap maps are some of my greatest gaming memories, nothing will ever touch playing Rocket Race with friends on either of them. I’m running out of room here, and I feel like I’ve missed loads out. Saved films and screenshots, the huge amount of stat tracking, just two things introduced by Halo 3 and only now being done by other games. I could go on into a whole other article just to do halo 3 justice, but I won’t. Quite simply, Halo 3 is the best Halo game ever made.

Mass Effect 3 Admitting this game is the best of the three is a little painful for me. After I’d finished it first time around, I spent a fair bit of time telling my gaming friends that I didn’t like it very much. Then, after many weekends spent playing the multi-player and another go at the campaign, I had to grudgingly admit that Mass Effect 3 was the best of the trilogy. With the first game, Bioware nailed the compelling storyline bit, but the mechanics were a little unwieldy. With the second game, they polished the controls, but the story was a little basic. With the third game Bioware combined the best of the first with the best of the second to produce a Mass Effect game that was almost perfect. For a long time I let the ending overshadow the rest of the game, and whilst I still don’t like it, I have come to realise just how great the rest of the game is. Thanks to two previous games worth of back-story, ME3 takes the friendships you made along the way and gives them real emotional weight. Losing a character that’s been with you for so long really hurts, putting the others in the way of danger becomes the hardest decision you have to make. And don’t think being a Paragon in the two previous games makes things any easier, either. The “right” choices from the first two games have a lasting effect on the third, and it’s not long before they stop feeling so “right”. It’s hard to think of another game that tracks so many previous choices and successfully weaves them in to a coherent, gripping narrative but Mass Effect 3 does just that. The fact that I and so many others had such a strong emotional reaction to the ending demonstrates one thing, that Bioware has created a galaxy full of characters you genuinely care about on an emotional level, and not many games can say that.

Gears of War 3 Why is Gears 3 the best of the trilogy? Simple, Horde 2.0 is why. Declaring Gears 3 as the best of the three based on one game mode might seem a little crazy, but not in the case of Horde mode. Have a think now, how many reviews did you read post Gears 2 that referenced Horde when describing some other game’s survival-based feature. “What’s Halo ODST’s Firefight mode like? Kinda like Horde, only with Halo…” That was what my friends and I were saying at the time, and it was a similar kind of description for Call of Duty’s zombie mode too. Other games had done co-op survival modes in the past for sure, but none of them had done it with such style. With Gears 3, Epic Games blew the mode out in almost every direction. More weapons, more enemies, more deliciously sadistic executions.., and all playable with four other friends. In my opinion Horde 2.0 is about as perfect as a co-op mode gets. But it doesn’t stop there, for the first time in a Gears of War game you could instajib the COG too, via Beast mode. All of our Locust-loving fantasies were indulged by Beast mode, finally we could blow those filthy humans into meaty chunks by picking the Boomer Locust, we could turn them into a bloody smear on the floor by running them over with the Berserker, we could take them apart in many, many different and violent ways. As you’ve noticed, I’ve gotten this far into the paragraph and I still haven’t mentioned the single player campaign. That’s not because it’s bad (it’s really very good), it’s just that kick-ass multi-player has always been the game’s party piece, and with Gears of War 3 Epic Games has made one of the finest multi-player shooters money can buy.

The Game Jar Files: Overated Games

Originally published on The Game Jar.com – 29/03/2013

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Sometimes, I like to write well thought out articles about stuff I genuinely care about. Sometimes, I write reviews. And sometimes, when domestic life hasn’t quite provide me with enough excitement  I like to poke the gaming beehive with a stick. This article could well be one of those stick poking times. You see, I don’t think I’ve met a single gamer that doesn’t have strong opinions on what games they like and don’t like, so trying to define which games are overrated could well be a hot topic. I am however, fearless when it comes to these matters, so with the aid of my flame-proof suit, I dive straight in, and tell you which of your most favourite games are overrated.

World of Warcraft

I am a huge MMO fan. Over the years, I’ve played many different types of MMO, some for only a few months, some for years, but none of them, not a single one, has ever turned me off instantly like World of Warcraft has. And I’ve tried to like it, I really have. Multiple times. But I simply cannot find a single redeeming feature. When you consider that WoW has a player base totalling roughly ten million players, you’d think I’d have to try pretty hard to find things that I don’t like, ten million people can’t be wrong and all that, but no, I find it easy. Because I dislike pretty much all of it. In no particular order, my main issues are thus: It’s the worst kind of clichéd high fantasy. It looks ugly. The level of gear grind is horrendous. They charge for stuff many people feel they shouldn’t charge for. And there’s a healthy number of players that look down upon anyone who wasn’t there for vanilla WoW. I know that many, many people love this game, and very probably those same people would dispute everything I just said about it, but it doesn’t change my mind. World of Warcraft is a MMO dinosaur, and I don’t understand why people continue to play it.

Halo Combat Evolved.

If there’s one thing in gaming that continues to baffle me, it’s the existence of gamers who insist that Halo: Combat Evolved is the best Halo ever made. Maybe its because I never owned the first Xbox, and didn’t experience the whole LAN party thing, I just don’t know. What I do know is that I’ve played the game since (in its original form), and that it doesn’t come even remotely close to matching the heights achieved by Halo 3. My biggest problem with the first game is the repartition. Fight your way though a series of identical looking rooms and corridors, listen to some plot exposition, then turn around and backtrack the way you came, back through those very same identical rooms and corridors. How on earth is that supposed to be fun? Halo has it’s moments I’ll grant you (when it lets you out of the corridors, and in to the outside world), and it was certainly better than most of the shooters around at the time, but much like FF VII, progress in the genre has shone a cold, hard light on Halo. Against the backdrop of the modern shooter, Halo’s game play looks and feels stale. With each instalment Bungie got better at making Halo games, and by the third games they surpassed anything they’d done in the first. Halo CE is a good game. As the start point to a multimillion pound franchise, it’s interesting to revisit occasionally, but it’s not the pinnacle of Master Chief’s adventures.

Earthworm Jim

I’ve often wondered how David Perry feels about EWJ. “Please welcome on to the stage, founder of Gaikai, and creator of Earthworm Jim…” The game sucked. It sucked, and now he has to wear it like an albatross around his neck, unable to free himself from it. I’m sure that if you stared deep into his eyes, you’d be able to sense his internal mental pleading, “please don’t mention Earthworm Jim, please don’t mention….” Logically I suppose then, this game should be topping the list given it’s the only game here that is actually terrible, but unlike the other games here, EWJ usually requires some prompting before gamers start misremembering its qualities. To be fair to the game, its graphical style was pretty impressive at the time. The cell-shaded cartoony looks well and truly stood out from the 16bit crowd, but flashy visuals do not equal solid game play, and that’s where EWJ fell down. The controls were ropey, the levels erred on the wrong side of repetitive, and the boss fights were often frustrating (remember those ropey controls I mentioned?). Trust me, I owned EWJ back in the day. I played it for many hours, and I can assure you that it wasn’t very good. Take pity of David Perry, won’t you. Release him from the curse of Earthworm Jim by never mentioning it ever again.

Any Burnout game, ever.

I’ll be honest on this one right from the start, by stating that I’m willing to accept that my opinion on the Burnout series of games may well be irrevocably tainted by my inability to play them. Why can’t I play them? Because they’re fundamentally broken, that’s why. Let me take you through a little scenario by way of illustration. You’re settling down to play multi-player with your friends. It’s Burnout, so you’re imagining a night of trading paint with your buddies. A night of take downs and  blossoming rivalries. A night of putting your friends into race ending central reservations, and the warm glow of smug smack-talk afterwards. That’s what you imagine. The reality however, kicks in around thirty seconds into the first race. You take off from the line, door to door with your friends, desperate to commence the destruction. And then you hit an oncoming car. You watch helplessly as your friends disappear into the distance, cursing their ninja-like reflexes. It soon dawns on you, that the only way to win a race in a game fundamentally about crashing into other cars, is to avoid crashing into other cars! That is why I have such a problem with every Burnout game I’ve ever played, they’re just one big cock tease. Well, that or I’m shite at them.

Final Fantasy VII

This game is without a doubt, the single most over-rated game ever. Now, before you start grabbing your pitchforks, or begin a comment in the box below with the words WHAT. THE. and F***, hear me out. I’m not saying that FF VII was a bad game (I quite enjoyed it at the time), I simply wish to point out that it’s elevation to near mythical status is totally ridiculous. Now, before you start telling me it’s one of the best games ever made, let me stop you. To be considered as one of the best games ever made, a game (in my opinion) has to move the genre in which it’s in, forward. It has to shake the genre up so firmly, that developers are simply forced to make games in a new way. FF VII didn’t do that. It was very firmly a traditional JRPG. Squaresoft didn’t take any risks with it, they played it safe. Back in 1997, when we didn’t know any better, JRPG’s were cool. Today, in the cold light of a sandbox RPG world, JRPG’s look like what they are, grindy ordeals only played by masochists and gamers stuck in a time bubble. Random encounters popping up all the damn time when you’re just trying to get somewhere quickly are not fun. Realising you’ve got to spend hours grinding away to level up so you can beat that boss you’re stuck on is not fun. We’ve grown up now, we understand that games should be enjoyed, not endured. Final Fantasy VII was a fun game at the time, but things have moved on. Let’s not rewrite history, and turn the game into something it wasn’t.

So there we have it, the five most overrated games ever made, according to me. Don’t agree? Well, tell me then. Leave a comment telling me I’m crazy. Ask me why “X” isn’t listed here. Give me your suggestions for the most overrated games ever. I’m a big boy, I can take it, and I still have my flame-proof suit on!

Mega Bloks Halo: Versus – Assault on High Ground

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Rush the SpLazer spawn!

Back to the discontinued kits I’m afraid, for my favourite kit of all. I have so many great memories of Halo 3 multiplayer, and in particular High Ground, that the moment I saw this one, I had to buy it. Every time I look at this kit, I’m back in those games, running up the hill, trying to open the gate… The kit comes with a variety of little bits appropriate to the map; exploding crates, a trip mine and a flag. The whole thing is hinged, which helps to reduce the space needed when displaying it, and it also comes with a better version of a Ghost. The only things that let this kit down are the steps (which keep falling off), and the active camo Spartan, though that second thing is entirely personal.

One of my most favourite Halo maps, in Blok form! – Five out of Five

  • Kit Name: Versus: Assault on High Ground
  • Kit Number: 96967
  • Number of Pieces: 542
  • Price: Around £30 (Toys R Us) – Discontinued kit.

Mega Bloks catalogue page (US)

Mega Bloks Halo: Covenant Seraph

Whooooosh!

Whooooosh!

Concious of the fact that the last two kits I blogged about where discontinued, I thought I’d make this one about a current kit. The Covenant Seraph is a similar size lengthwise to the Phantom, but has much less depth. As a result the blok count only reaches 566. It still took me a fair amount of time to build, and as always with Mega Bloks, it isn’t as easy to put together as Lego. My favourite pet peeve is ever present; stickers, though they’re not too bad on this one. You get a rather generous three Elites with the kit, the cockpit only seats one, and there’s nowhere else for the other to go, so what they’re supposed to do, I don’t know. Maybe they’re there to guard the detachable stand.

Solid kit that looks great when finished – Four-and-a-half out of Five.

  • Kit Name: Covenant Seraph
  • Kit Number: 97015
  • Number of Pieces: 566
  • Price: Around £30

Mega Bloks catalogue page (US)

 

Mega Bloks Halo: Covenant Phantom

Phantom! Incoming!

Phantom! Incoming!

Time for a big kit. The Covenant Phantom has been discontinued now, which is a shame because its pretty awesome. Weighing in at a hefty 906 six blocks, this kit kept me busy all day last Christmas. The control surfaces at the rear all move, and the side ramps move in the correct way – you can lower just the turret section, or the whole thing. The front cockpit cover comes off, and you have a choice of two elites to put in there. Accompanying them are two Grunts, though you’ll have to do the voice yourself. The whole thing sits on a blue transfer tube-thing at the rear, and some clear blocks at the front.

The turrets keep falling off when you move it, and stickers are a little crappy (as usual). Nevertheless, still an awesome model – Four out of Five

One thing I should say about almost all the Mega Bloks kits I’ve put together; it’s not Lego, so don’t expect it to go together as well. Bear that in mind when buying.

  • Kit Name: Covenant Phantom
  • Kit Number: 96941
  • Number of Pieces: 906
  • Cost: Around £30 (Smyths Toys) – Discontinued kit

Mega Bloks catalogue page (US)

Mega Bloks Halo: ODST Ambush

Prepare to drop!

Prepare to drop!

Another excellent small set, this time based on Halo 3 ODST. A quick build that went together well. There are some stickers to put on, but they’re not too tricky to get right, plus the quality is pretty good. In general, I’m not a fan of Mega Bloks stickers, I think they’re a faff, and usually they’re poor quality. Not so here. Favourite part of the kit though is the ODST figure, love it.

Despite the stickers, another great set – Five out of Five

  • Kit Name: ODST Ambush
  • Kit Number: 96931
  • Number of Pieces: 69
  • Cost: Around £6 (Amazon.com)  – Discontinued kit

Mega Bloks catalogue page (US)

Megabloks Halo: UNSC Cryo Bay

Good things come in small boxes

Good things come in small boxes

I love this kit! It’s dead easy to put together, and really ties into the games nicely. There’s no stickers to put on, which is a bonus, and the tiny Cortana really sets the whole thing off. Megabloks often nail it when making these smaller kits, and it’s no different here. Goes together very well too, which seems to suggest Mega Bloks are improving the fit of their blocks.

One of the best kits in my collection – Five out of Five

  • Kit Name: UNSC Cryo Bay
  • Kit Number: 97088
  • Number of Pieces: 72
  • Cost: Around £12

Mega Bloks catalogue page (US site) 

 

The Game Jar Files: Stop loving Halo 4 so much!

Originally published on The Game Jar.com – 19/11/2012

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My fellow gamers, we need to have a little talk you and I, about Halo 4. I need to sit you down and explain to just why loving Halo 4 a little too much is bad for you as a gamer in the future. Don’t worry, you’ll still be allowed to love Halo 4 after I’m done, I only want to put your love within some sort of context. So stop pwning noobs in Infinity Slayer, put the controller down for ten minutes, and sit back and relax as I start our little journey with a trip to a museum in Paris…

Imagine you visit the Musée du Louvre to view one of the most famous paintings in the world, the Mona Lisa. You go there to actually look at the painting, and just not to glance at it for 30 seconds. You study each little detail; the strokes of Leonardo da Vinci’s brush, the colours he’s used and the way he’s used them, his use of light and shade. You study the woman’s face and wonder who she is, what’s she thinking as she sits there. You’re drawn into the background surrounding her, and you wonder how the two are connected. Every detail of the painting tells you that an artistic genius created it. You move on and eventually you find the gift shop. You buy a reproduction poster of the Mona Lisa, but it’s not quite the same. There’s no brush strokes or depth. It looks the same to the casual eye, but closer inspection reveals it’s missing all the things you loved about the original. When you study the Mona Lisa, you can feel Leonardo’s craft shining through, the poster has none of those things. Obviously you bought the poster in full knowledge of what it was, a copy. You understand it doesn’t have the same qualities or the nuances of the original, but that won’t stop you from enjoying it all the same, you still enjoy looking at it.

Now, all of that previous paragraph might have been a bit too pretentious for you, but stick with me, I’m getting to the point. The relationship between the Bungie-created Halo 3 and the 343 Industries-created Halo 4 is exactly the same as the masterpiece artwork and the reproduction copy. Halo 3 is the masterpiece, it’s the Mona Lisa. It was the conclusion of a story that Bungie had been telling for two games previous, and with the third they created their finest work. When you play Halo 3, the creators passion for the story and it’s characters shines through. Every detail feels like it’s been lovingly crafted, it has a warmth and depth that’s only possible when the creator cares about what they’re creating. Halo 4 doesn’t feel that way. It’s the reproduction copy. They examined what a Halo game should look like, and copied it. And just like in the previous example, when you really study it with a critical eye you can tell the difference. Halo 4 has none of the creators passion poured into it, it feels like a game created by committee, every game mode accepted or rejected based on what would be most profitable in the long-term, every storyline touchstone added or removed by focus group.

But I don’t want you to get the impression there’s something wrong with liking Halo 4, I like it too. I enjoyed the campaign, I’m enjoying the Spartan Ops, and all of my friends are enjoying it, but I do find some of the adulation the game is getting rather troubling. My timeline blew up during launch week with people proclaiming what a fantastic game it is, how it’s the best Halo ever, game of the year etc. and I don’t like it. Why? Because all of a sudden gamers are judging the reproduction copy as the new benchmark of excellence. Halo 4 wasn’t made by craftsman, it came off a factory production line. It wasn’t made to be the best it could be, it was built to reach a certain level of quality and no higher. Are we as gamers really going to decide that this is what great games look like now? And don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an anti-Microsoft thing. I’ll be saying the same thing to myself when Black Ops 2 is released, there’s no originality or striving for excellence in Call of Duty games any more either. I want the very top-tier of gaming excellence to remain where it was, with the games created by the Leonardo da Vinci’s of the development world, not with guys who understand how to make a good copy.

What I find most unpalatable though is the tremendous waste of talent evident here. Halo 4 is very nearly a stunningly good-looking game. Clearly 343 Industries has enough technical chops to turn out a polished product, and yet they weren’t given the creative freedom to create their own Halo. If you look closely enough, you can see the developers desire to tear the traditional Halo down into pieces, and to start anew. Only they weren’t allowed, and now we have good game that clearly would have been a great game if only the money-men had said yes. So please my fellow gamers, lets not settle for second best. By all means enjoy Halo 4, love Halo 4, but understand what it means for future game development too. Lets not tell publishers we’re happy to accept this as the new benchmark for excellence, lets not allow them to tell us we prefer the factory reproduction over the artists masterpiece. Because if we do, we’ll never see another Mona Lisa again.

Mini Review – McFarlane Toys “Emile” (Halo Reach)

One of my latest additions to my Halo figure collection is this one, Emile from Halo Reach. The Reach range of figures has on average over twenty points of articulation, with Emile here having eighteen moving joints (more if you include being able to twist things like the knees), all of which are typical McFarlane Toys – either too tight or too loose.  The hips and shoulder joints have changed the most from previous Spartan figures, getting more beefy with less (and more realistic in my opinion) articulation. Painting and detail is good, better than on the regular Noble 6/Reach Spartan figures in fact, and his shotgun is nicely reproduced . The only downside is his hands. Like previous Spartan ranges, all the Reach Spartans appear to have the same hands. Totally fine for Noble 6 who comes with an Assault Rifle, but Emile comes with a shotgun which has a very thin grip, too thin in fact to fit the standard hand, and as a result it’s very difficult to get him to hold his weapon correctly.

Better quality than the early Halo 3 series figures, but room for improvement – Four out of Five

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